Crystal Palace eye up Chelsea’s ‘future England captain’ who could follow Marc Guehi footsteps

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Crystal Palace are set for a busy summer transfer window as Patrick Vieira hopes to strengthen his squad with new arrivals in key areas.

The Eagles had an impressive window this time last year following Vieira’s appointment, with the majority of signings made making an immediate impact on the squad. Defenders Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi breathed new life into the backline and built a strong partnership together as the season progressed, while Michael Olise and Will Hughes both proved useful when each got a run of games during the second half of the campaign.

There is still work to be done though. Vieira expressed his desire to add experience to the squad during the January transfer window though no signings were made other than a £ 1million move for Derby County teenager Luke Plange, who was sent back on loan to the Rams until the end of the season. There are also still areas of the squad where Palace are understrength, notably at center-back and in midfield.

READ MORE: Crystal Palace ranked alongside Tottenham Hotspur for best matchday experience across 92 clubs

Martin Kelly’s departure at the end of his contract leaves Vieira with just three natural center-halves at his disposal, with James Tomkins largely unable to meet the required standards set by his manager in a possession-based side. Cheikhou Kouyate has filled in before, notably during the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea, though his contract expires soon and the club are yet to announce if he will be offered a fresh deal.

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As such, recruiting another defender will be paramount for Palace ahead of the 2022/23 campaign and they’ve recently been linked to another graduate of Chelsea’s famous Cobham academy in Levi Colwill. The 19-year-old is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Blues but spent last season on loan at Huddersfield Town where he impressed playing 32 times in all competitions.

His campaign ended in heartbreak on Sunday as his own goal allowed Nottingham Forest to gain promotion to the Premier League at Huddersfield’s expense during the Championship play-off final, though this has not put Palace off trying to secure his signature. Palace also has a history here – Guehi was signed last summer from Chelsea off the back of a play-off final defeat with Swansea and has gone on to earn senior England honors thanks to his time in south London.

Whether Chelsea will entertain offers is another question. The Blues are set to lose center-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on a free, potentially giving Colwill a chance to fill the gap in Thomas Tuchel ‘s squad. Should their public interest in Sevilla’s Jules Kounde materialize however it could open the door for Colwill to leave. Leicester City, Arsenal, Southampton and Brighton are all reportedly interested in the defender too, who was recently called up to the England Under-21 squad for their upcoming European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic, Albania, Kosovo and Slovenia.

Elsewhere, Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland has been linked with a move away from the club following speculation over the arrival of England international Sam Johnstone. Butland has one year left on his deal at Selhurst Park but would effectively be pushed down to third-choice keeper if Johnstone were to arrive following the expiration of his contract with West Bromwich Albion.

So far Bournemouth and Rangers have both been linked with a move for Butland, who made 15 appearances for the Eagles last season as an understudy to first-choice Vicente Guaita. The Spaniard turned 35 in January and has expressed an interest in finishing his career with boyhood club Valencia, leaving space for a new number one in the near future.

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